Monday, August 4, 2014

82. Golf Balls

If a non-hiker were to look through my backpack when I arrived in Massachusetts on my thru-hike last year, they would have found what appeared to be a huge collection of utterly useless items. They may have found a dodgeball, a deck of cards or a velociraptor toy, among other things. But as we have established, these things are not actually useless. They're just useless to the untrained or unwilling eye. This is similar to how some people feel about tiny dogs. Some people think they're awesome, and other people feel confused about why you would want to carry something like that around in your bag.

Something that would have seemed particularly out of the ordinary would have been a red golf ball. Well, the ball wasn't completely red, as there were many spots where the paint had chipped away to reveal a strata of other bright colors, the evidence of decades worth of repainting. Why would a hiker need or want a golf ball? Is she waiting for the perfect mountaintop off of which to hit it? She would never be able to retrieve the ball, unless she's the sort of person to hike with a Caddy. More importantly, what would she hit it with? In my experience, very few hikers carry a 9 Irons with them. But frankly it wouldn't surprise me if I met one that did. 

Sometimes I like to think about an archaeologist 1,000 years in the future finding my backpack and trying to make sense of all the crap inside. Would they see the golf ball as some sort of religious artifact? A talisman to represent the weight of the world? Or maybe they would think the golf ball was some kind of inefficient firestarter. Or maybe they'd think it was used to hunt grouse, by knocking them out if the air with one well-aimed whack.

No, the golf ball was actually a sort of first aid device. TAKE THAT, FUTURE SCIENTISTS. I'd carried a plain golf ball with me for a lot of the southern states, but I traded it at a mini golf course in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for the mostly-red-kinda-multicolored one that still sits in a pocket of my mostly empty backpack to this day. 

At the end of the day, I'd take off my hiking boots, put the golf ball on the ground, and roll the ball, heel and arches of my feet all over it. This felt like a somewhat painful massage, but served the purpose of stretching out the tendons and ligaments in my feet! They sell hard knobbly ball-things like this at fancy stores for 30 bucks. You could spend that money, or just use a golfball that you secretly pocketed from a run-down bowling alley/mini golf franchise in the middle of a tiny town. Either way, your hiker feet will love it.

Clever Girl

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